Ganna set a crushing 56.792-kilometer mark on Saturday and blew previous efforts by Dan Bigham and Chris Boardman far out of the frame.
The Grenchen velodrome exploded in elation as Ganna and his Ineos Grenadiers entourage hailed a near-superhuman feat Saturday night.
But the Italian tempered any post-race euphoria and suggestions of a “next time” with a big fat “maybe” when he spoke a few hours after his record-busting ride.
“I think I’ll never do it again! If I do, I’ll do it in the future, before I retire, like [Bradley] Wiggins. But I don’t think before,” Ganna said Saturday.
- Ganna crushes hour record in Grenchen
- Ganna on Hour Record attempt: ‘I need to do the biggest effort of my life’
Ganna added a whole new level to his multi-angled palmarès Saturday.
World time trial titles and track pursuit records came before an hour record ride that saw the strapping Italian stallion elbow among some of cycling’s greats. Wiggins, Fausto Coppi, Jacques Anquetil, and Eddy Merckx all have entries in hour record history.
“That was not something to be repeated,” Ganna joked Saturday. “As long as no one takes my record, I won’t do it again.
“This puts me on a list with Merckx and Wiggins?! Nice, but only as a world hour record holder can I stand next to them. Their track record is so much greater than mine.”
A new world hour record!
— FirstCycling.com (@FirstCycling) October 8, 2022
Some say no rider in the active peloton can top a ride that saw Ganna hit laps a squeak short of 59kph.
The 26-year married huge power, aero efficiency, and massive R&D into a steamtrain of mind-bending speed.
Ganna embraced the prospect of others stepping up to challenge his record, but issued a warning to others after Ineos Grenadiers poured investment into an effort that delivered on a world-first 3D-printed bike and endless hours of tech noodling.
“I have the best team ever for what we’re trying to do. Maybe if [other challengers] join the team, they can try. Every team has different politic, for the road for the track,” he said. “I think Ineos follows well what I want to do. This result isn’t just from my legs and performance, it’s one effort of the whole team.”
With a contract in 2024 in his pocket, Ganna knows he’s where he needs to be when rivals inevitably emerge to swing at his record.
Having Ganna on the books brings Ineos Grenadiers visibility and a multi-dimensional asset to owner Jim Ratcliffe’s sporting empire.
The team grew to embrace achievements beyond its Team Sky-Tour de France roots with multi-terrain star Tom Pidcock and is rumored to be bringing Pauline Ferrand-Prévot into the fold as it pushes backing into boundary-stretching ambition.
“As Ineos Grenadiers, we are always looking to push forward, go faster, ride further and be better,” deputy principal Rod Ellingworth said. “Tonight’s achievement is the epitome of that attitude and approach. The UCI Hour Record is a prestigious event that not only tests the rider but also the technology, equipment and innovation from the team and our partners including Pinarello, Bioracer and Kask. This is a huge achievement for everyone involved and we are incredibly proud.”
Reversing an off-par road season
Ganna rides toward the end of his season with the wind at his back after being buffeted by a series of off-key performances this year.
He missed the podium at both Tour de France time trials, was bettered by Swiss stars at the European Championships, and was an echelon behind Tobias Foss in his road world title defense.
“I knew in the morning that I was on a good day,” he said at the finish Saturday. “I had never had this feeling in Australia, for example, at the world championships.
“My attempt also went as I expected. For a moment I thought that the 57-kilometer limit was feasible. Unfortunately I had to slow down a bit in the final phase. Still, I think I got everything out of it, and I really couldn’t have done better.”
Ganna heads from the Swiss velodrome toward another set of boards to represent Italy at the track world championships this coming week.
Anything he achieves in the week of racing in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France, will just be an added bonus.
“I’ll keep this result, it’s good for my head,” Ganna said Saturday. “Now I can forget the bad moments of the season.”
Absolute scenes 🤣
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) October 9, 2022